1) The Wire has ruined the police procedural on TV for me. Whether The Wire is realistic or not isn't the point but it achieved a level of verisimilitude that other cop shows don't. David Simon once said “fuck the average reader” and what The Wire demands of the viewer bears this philosophy out. That's because, if you look under the hood, these other cop shows, ostensibly set in the real world, are actually fantasies.
Some say that genre is an artificial construct created my marketing departments. Maybe.
Here's what I know. The surface genre of a story isn't always readily apparent.
I watch these other cop shows and gnash my teeth and rend my garments and laugh like they are sitcoms every time:
-they break a suspect in the box in like 30 seconds
-they are able to use a missing persons cell phone data to determine their location without having to get a warrant for that info
-they never show the process of getting a warrant before taking a door
-they make The Promise. You know, “I promise we'll get the guy who did this”, Horatio intoned gruffly while standing sideways before putting his sunglasses on and walking away. I hate The Promise. I'm thinking about editing an anthology called The Promise where every story has a cop making The Promise before it all goes horribly wrong.
-a suspect, especially affluent ones, never lawyer up
The Wire, at it's core, is a realistic show. The CSI's and other procedural are, at their cores, fantasies. It's not as outlandish a premise as you might initially think if you take the time to look under the hood of the story.
There's more to say so I'm going to leave two exhibits as food for thought.
Exhibit A: A paragraph that Chuck Klosterman wrote:
"Take, for example, Road House. This is a movie I love. But I don't love it because it's bad; I love it because it's interesting. Outside the genre of sci-fi, I can't think of any film less plausible than Road House. Every element of the story is wholly preposterous: the idea of Swayze being a nationally famous bouncer (with a degree in philosophy), the concept of such a superviolent bar having such an attractive clientele, the likelihood of a tiny Kansas town having such a sophisticated hospital, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Every single scene includes at least one detail that could never happen in real life. So does that make Road House bad? No. It makes Road House perfect. Because Road House exists in a parallel reality that is more fanciful (and more watchable) than The Lord of the Rings. The characters in Road House live within the mythology of rural legend while grappling with exaggerated moral dilemmas and neoclassical archetypes. I don't feel guilty for liking any of that. Road House also includes a monster truck. I don't feel guilty for liking that, either."
Exhibit B: a fascinating scan of an article from New Frontiers magazine from 1959 called "Can We Live Without Fantasy Fiction"? that illustrates that fantasy then is not the same as fantasy now.
2)It's been a hell of a week for deaths. Russell Hoban, one of my favorite writers, died at the age of 86. Hoban was the rare writer that you could grow with and read for your entire life. He was the author of the famous Francis the Badger children's books. He penned the classic book for older children (and adults) The Mouse and His Child, as moving and deep a book as has ever been written. He then went on to write novels for adults including Turtle Island and Riddly Walker. He stayed prolific, playful and imaginative until the end and we are now less for not having him with us.
3)I think this video is a great example of an unreliable narrator in a first person POV story
4)When we talk about book pricing and the changing landscape of of the publishing industry we often do so while in a bubble. We rarely take into account data and opinions from sources as far ranging as possible. With how inter-connected things are the conversation is lesser for not doing so. We should take into account things like this:
“It’s well established that when housing prices go up people feel richer and spend more: the rule of thumb is that they spend between five and seven per cent of the increase in housing wealth. But when housing prices go down people cut their spending by the same amount in response. Between 2006 and 2011, American homeowners saw the value of their homes drop by seven trillion dollars or so. That means that—even if consumers had no debt at all—we’d expect a dropoff in consumption of about four hundred billion dollars.”
That's a staggering figure that will and has affected discretionary spending.
5)And just because:
But though similar disasters, however little bruited ashore, were by no means unusual in the fishery; yet, in most instances, such seemed the White Whale's infernal aforethought of ferocity, that every dismembering or death that he caused, was not wholly regarded as having been inflicted by an unintelligent agent.
Currently reading: Already Gone by John Rector, Osama by Lavie Tidhar, Drawing Dead by JJ DeCeglie.
Currently listening: Amy Winehouse and Peter Tosh.